Follow through or else

Color Grid: Spring 2   by Allison Long Hardy

Color Grid: Spring 2 by Allison Long Hardy

Strategic plans are like dust bunnies. They have a cute name but are an annoying reminder that there is something else we should be doing. They're amassed from the fur, fluff, and fuzz floating around and tend to reproduce in dark corners. Strategic plans are often the end goal of a long process with at least a meeting or two scheduled along the way.

Strategic planning meetings can be great but have limitations. Done well, they...

  • Get everyone on the same basis of understanding around the problem to be solved
  • Lay the foundation for some near-term decisions the leadership team will ultimately have final say on
  • Energize a team in a rut

Sadly, the initial interest and excitement generated during the meeting can flip to disappointment quickly after. The problem usually isn't in the meeting itself, it's the follow through. To avoid frustration and reduce the risk of long-term eye-rolling, there are two choices.

  1. Plan, schedule, and market the meeting as a team building exercise. Then when good strategic thinking happens and written down in the minutes, the team is delighted.
  2. Build follow through into the process at the beginning. Schedule a least post-meeting sessions to bring closure to the plan and, more importantly, get a few (2-3) of the priority actions rolling.  Then, get a meeting on the calendar for one year out as a reminder to all that the plan will be revisited, progress reviewed, and actions refined for the next year.